‘It’s for boy and girl’, a play about gender stereotypes

From the act of playing, with dolls, carts, balls and shoes, the stage director Catarina Requeijo created the show for childhood ‘It’s for boy and girl’, which tries to dismantle some prejudices and gender stereotypes.

With a premiere scheduled for the 17th at the São Luiz Municipal Theater in Lisbon, the play is starring actors João Nunes Monteiro and Marta Cerqueira, as two children entertained with their toys and separated by a red line.

In the play, constructed almost without text, the two characters entertain themselves with toys that, normatively, are associated with masculine or feminine stereotypes: He plays with boxing gloves, carts, soccer ball, while she with a service of with a baby doll, with ballet shoes.

There is a moment, however, in which they interact, they begin to experience each other’s toys – invading each other’s space – and they build a lane with a bridge that goes beyond and transgresses the red line that divides them.

It was in this simple construction on stage, using the toys symbolically, that the director Catarina Requeijo settled on the idea of approaching gender issues, thinking about a very initial public, between three and six years.

If on one hand, it is difficult to talk about these issues with these ages, it is also at these ages that you can create openness to think in another way,” said Catarina Requeijo.

For two decades working in theatre for children, Catarina Requeijo explained that she did research in a school context to better understand the behaviour of children while playing. From the field work it has been found that, unconsciously, stereotypes still linger. In schools and in a family environment.

Where I think things are more deeply rooted in the thinking of children, and I think it was more difficult to dismantle, it is in the family roles of the man and the woman, there is very little openness. mothers who take care of their babies. Parents can help if it is very accurate or if the mother is sick. And I think there is a lot of work to do about it, ” he said.

The red line that divides the stage extends in the audience. Upon reaching the room, the audience is invited to sit separately, just as it happens in the play: Boys on one side and girls on the other, precisely to raise questions about the subject.

We would like these children to leave here – and especially the adults who accompany them – to think that everything is possible. That there may be boys who like dresses and girls who like to climb trees,” said the director.

On the days of the premiere, political actuality interfered in dramaturgy, given the pertinence of the theme. The piece begins with the audition a phrase that the Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights of Brazil, Damares Alves, delivered last 03: “It is a new era in Brazil: boy dresses blue and girl wears pink.”

For Catarina Requeijo, the phrase – and all the associated ideology – justifies the existence of this spectacle, which is “necessarily political, not in the sense of partisan, but it is political, it is a political position.”

The director believes that this is one of the first theatres plays in Portugal on gender equality aimed at such a young audience, in a play promoting the idea that “boys and girls can be whatever they want.

It’s for boy and girl” will be on the scene in Lisbon until the 23rd, with workshops on the theme specifically designed for kindergarten teachers.

After Lisbon, the play will circulate throughout the country, with representations in Ovar, Loulé, Guimarães, Almada and Vale do Tejo region.

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